Vilma Jurkute

Vilma Jurkute

Executive Director of Alserkal

Vilma has dedicated her career to developing creative industries across New York, Chicago, London and Dubai. She joined Alserkal in 2012 and, in her time with the organisation, she has been instrumental in its evolution and responsible for overseeing Alserkal Avenue’s physical expansion of US$20 million in 2015. Since its launch, the 500,000 sq ft plot has become a key cultural destination for the MENASA region, housing more than 60 most prominent contemporary art galleries, community and creative spaces.

In 2017, Vilma led and executed the building of Concrete, the first project by Rem Koolhaas’ OMA in the UAE. In 2019, Concrete became the very first project in Dubai’s history to be shortlisted for the Aga Khan Award for Architecture. Vilma has led Alserkal’s businesses proposition, strategy and development of key revenue streams over the period of eight years to include cultural consulting, cultural content production and execution, and investments in creative businesses. She has been a vocal supporter of growing a creative economy, and a strong advocate for homegrown cultural paradigms developed in the Global South.

Vilma has also been the driving force behind Alserkal’s non-profit activities in the arts, which were formalised under Alserkal Arts Foundation in 2019, affirming the organisation’s commitment to artistic production, scholarship and research.

Vilma serves on the advisory boards of the Global Cultural Districts Network and the Jean-Paul Najar Foundation. She holds an Executive MSc in Sustainable Urban Development at the University of Oxford, UK. Her dissertation explores the role of cultural districts in shaping a sense of belonging in young adults, basing it on a case study of Alserkal Avenue, Dubai, thereby connecting the two disciplines of culture and sustainable urban development.